Amish Names: Common First Names & Surnames

What are common Amish names?

amish namesCertain names occur frequently in Amish communities, reflecting the relatively closed nature of Amish society.

As a general rule, the Amish do not seek converts (though it is possible to become Amish). That aside, it’s quite difficult to join a group like the Amish, with specific patterns of behavior, language, dress, and restrictions on technology.

As a result, outsiders join only rarely. So a relatively small number of last names dominate. Due to naming traditions, certain first names recur often among the Amish as well.

Amish Last Names

Certain surnames are particularly common among the Amish, due to the fact that certain founders in this community had oversized influence on following generations.  Some family names are found in particular communities and regions.

Midwest Amish Names

Miller is the most common Amish name, seen most prevalently in the Midwest, in communities such as Holmes County, Ohio and northern Indiana.  Other typical names in the Midwest include:

  • Hershberger
  • Yoder
  • Hochstetler
  • Troyer
  • Schrock

In addition to these, Bontrager, Burkholder, Lehman, and Lambright are common in northern Indiana.

Lancaster Amish Names

In Lancaster County and related settlements, Stoltzfus is the most common Amish last name. Other frequently-occurring names in Lancaster County and related settlements include:

  • King
  • Fisher
  • Lapp
  • Zook
  • Beiler

amish namesSome Amish names have alternate spellings, such as Hostetler or Hochstedler, Borkholder, or Stoltzfoos.  Byler is a common alternate spelling of Beiler seen frequently in the Midwest.  Hershberger has the alternate forms Herschberger and Harshberger.

Swiss Amish Names

Certain last names are particularly common among the Swiss Amish of Indiana and other areas, and not seen so often elsewhere.  Common Swiss Amish names include:

  • Schwartz
  • Hilty
  • Lengacher
  • Graber
  • Wittmer

Old Order Mennonites also have specific last names common to them, such as Martin, Nolt, or Zimmerman.

Amish Male Names

Amish typically choose Biblical first names, or names with a long tradition in the particular family or community.  Common Bible-origin Amish first names for men and boys include:

  • Samuel
  • Jacob
  • John
  • Isaac
  • Abram
  • Mark

Amish Female Names

For women and girls, typical Amish names taken from Scripture include:

  • Mary
  • Ruth
  • Martha
  • Sarah
  • Hannah
  • Miriam

Other traditional names for men and boys include Leroy, Lavern, Mervin, Atlee, Melvin, Harley, Wayne, and Willis. For women and girls: Fannie, Waneta, Katie, and Sadie.

When it comes to Amish baby names, in recent years there has been a growing trend towards more non-traditional names among some Amish. Certain groups, such as New Order Amish, may be more likely to give their children less traditional first names.

Amish Nicknames

Since many Amish end up with identical first and last names, Amish need ways of telling one another apart.  Often an individual may have a nickname, developing from a specific incident, or a nickname that identifies a family line.  “Boys” and “Beanie” are two examples of Amish nicknames for individual men, “Bottle” and “Nip” are others denoting family lines.

amish last names

A person’s job may identify him, as in the example of “Silo Mervin” or “Printer Mo”.  Amish often identify one another by referring to the parent, as in “Eli’s Barbara”.

Also quite useful is the middle initial many Amish take.  In many cases, an Amish individual will not have  a middle name.   A single letter, usually the first letter of a father’s first name, will serve as a middle identifying initial for all of the children, boys and girls, in a family.  This naming convention can vary by community.

Unusual Amish names

Some Amish last names are more rarely seen, often reflecting a recent convert to the Amish or a “line” that entered the Amish diaspora but did not produce many male descendants, or at least not many who remained Amish.  Some of them are Germanic, others are not.

Unusual names among Amish include Jones, Girod, Phillips, Kuhns, Barkman, Kurtz, Whetstone, Bowman, and Bawell.  Some Amish names are no longer seen today, often because the last of a “line” may have assimilated with a higher church, or did not have sons who joined the Amish.  These include Morrell, Briskey, Hartz, and Smiley.

The church directory

amish names directory
Amish directories provide maps of church districts

The Amish produce church directories which list all of the families in a church district, showing names of parents and children.  They are useful in keeping track of individual’s names, birthdates, and addresses.

The directories are also useful resources for genealogical research.  Directories are produced for a given settlement, or sometimes affiliation (as in the case of the New Order or Nebraska Amish). Most directories are updated every five to seven years.

Medical issues in a closed society

Given the closed nature of Amish society, one might suppose that Amish have genetic issues specific to an endogamous community. It is true that Amish have exhibited certain genetic conditions in their society at a higher rate than in non-Amish society.

Because of this, Amish, often along with Mennonites (who can have similar health issues), have set up clinics with the help of outsiders in order to treat rare medical problems.

The best-known such clinic, The Clinic for Special Children at Strasburg, Pennsylvania, is run by Dr. Holmes Morton and relies on donations from members of the community and outsiders in addition to the modest fees it charges.  Amish and Mennonites in Lancaster County put on a yearly Clinic for Special Children benefit auction in order to raise funds for its operations.

Did you know the Amish name “Yoder” had many alternative spellings, like Yoeder, Ioder, and Jotter? Learn more in our closer look at 10 of the most common Amish surnames

For further information, see:

“New Names Among the Amish” 5-part series, David Luthy, Family Life, Aug-Sep 1972-June 1973

Ohio Amish Directory, Holmes County and Vicinity 2010

Amish Society, John A. Hostetler

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    1. Pingback: The Amish church directory | Amish America
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    5. La vonne De Bois - Amish Heartland tours

      In Holmes County, a Swartzenbruber women shared with me that after having 6 boys, she was having a girl. She wanted to name the girl Roweana. Her Bishop said it would attract to much attention and she should choose a name that is’nt as fancy. She named her daughter Rhoda.
      Her sons names are Harvey, Sam, Andy, Eli, Aaron,Danny and another daughter, Annie.

      1. Holly

        My great grandfathers name

        My great grandfather I have been told was from Pennsylvania and had the last name Enman. My father has mentioned over the years that they were Amish. Is this an Amish name?

        1. "Enman" surname

          Holly, unless there is an obscure family or two out there somewhere, there are no Amish with the surname “Enman” today. I’ve never seen it in any Amish directory or publication. I also don’t recall seeing it among former/”extinct” lineages in Amish histories. Not that it couldn’t have been, but I am not familiar with it. Could your great grandfather’s family have belonged to a different Anabaptist or Plain group?

          1. Billie Cress

            Amish, Mennonite Names

            Was Cress/Kress/Kresch an Amish or Mennonite surname?

          2. Karolyn

            Eymann, Eiman, Eyman

            Try googling these spellings.

            Eiman was a name in my Swiss/Alsasian relatives, the Waglers.




    6. Robin Miller

      Interesting and makes me wonder … my husband’s family is from northern Indiana. We know hardly anything about them except that they farmed. Miller is the family name. I think we need to do some research!

      1. Marcia barnhart

        My mother's name is Darlene Miller her mother's name was Ada Maggie hawk I am wondering if this is the same Miller that you are related to my grandmother married my grandmother married Arthur Miller they were from the Byron Illinois community my mom was born on Tower line road in Byron it's funny because today we went to a restaurant and I seen a lady that had the same name as my grandmother and she was dressed as an Amish I am wondering if you are talking about the same Amish community and now I'm wondering if you are talking about the same family we are related to George Miller and them from over there on Tower Vine road by Byron it's the Miller farm by Byron please call me or let me know this is very interesting I would like to know my mom's past family thank you

        My grandma’s my grandma’s name was Ada Maggie hawk my grandfather’s name was Arthur Miller they lived on townline road in Byron Illinois I am very interested if this is the same Miller family my grandmother told my mom that she came from Pennsylvania Dutch as I am looking up my grandmother’s name I’m wondering now if my grandmother was Amish I’m wondering how I find out this information if you could please let me know this is something that I would like to know about my mom’s past if you could please maybe help me I would greatly appreciate it now I’m wondering if it was meant for me to go in that restaurant today and meet that lady because I would have never known this and I come home and looked up my grandma’s name and I looked up my grandma’s last name and it says that it’s Amish so can you please get back to me I would really appreciate it because I would love to find out my mom’s past history of her family thank you

    7. Loved this informative article. I specifically liked how you ranked the usage of names by different areas in the country. Thanks!

    8. Marilyn

      In an Amish Community near where I live the Bishop’s first name is Zachariah. He was named after his father, by his mother, when he was born. Most everyone calls him Bishop Zack-he also introduces himself as Bishop Zack-unless it is something formal or where his “legal” name is needed. His Dad uses the full Zachariah. Bishop named his son’s Eli, Isaac, Jason and John. One of his daughters and her husband named their son Zachariah. I know that name is in the Bible, but I thought it was an unusual Amish name. I can’t wait to read Amish American every day. I really enjoy it and learn a great deal about the Amish
      Thank you,

    9. Thanks Marilyn, Sherry and Robin, very glad you liked this take on Amish names–and Marilyn, I actually don’t recall running into the name Zachariah among Amish before. It would be a quite uncommon name even though it is Biblical.

      1. mary yoder


        Dear erik i have taken an intrest in the amish and there daliy lifes . I find it very interesting…r u amish..Just wondering shawn

    10. Lavonne fanciness does factor in as you say, though as you know in your neck of the woods you do find some Amish giving their children non-traditional names. Not many among the Swartzentrubers though.

      1. T

        Finding family history when its Amish family

        Hello. I have been trying to do some research on my family and that is how I stumbled upon this website. My Great Grandfather left the Amish at 18 to marry my Great Grandmother, who was English. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. 2 of his other brothers were talking of leaving the Amish as well and my ggranfathers parents decided to leave the order because they did not want to lose their sons. The other children left the order with them except for 1 brother and a sister that were already married and happy in the community. The last name was Musser and they came from Indiana. Was just wondering how common this name is within the Amish community. Also, how does someone go about finding more information about a history into a family of Amish background? Thanks

        1. Billie Cress

          My grandparents are also Musser but from VA and PA not sure if they were Amish

        2. The SAGA-OMII databases list over 6000 mussers.

          Matches 1 to 600 of 6,444 for Last Name contains musser

    11. linda saul

      A name quite common with the Mennonites is Moses. And the wife’s name is Esther.

    12. In my church (Beachy Amish Mennonite) Gingerich, Yoder, Miller, Hostetler, Beiler, and Byler are most common, pretty much in that order.

      1. Donovan J. Beyeler

        The Origin of the Surnames Beiler and Byler

        Sherry Gore made some comments about “What are common Amish names? (December 1st, 2010) In my church (Beachy Amish Mennonite) Gingerich, Yoder, Miller, Hostetler, Beiler, and Byler are most common, pretty much in that order.”

        As a Beiler, Byler, Beyeler, and Beyler researcher let me add a bit about the origin of these names. In the Swiss Reformed Church records from Guggisberg, Schwarzenburg (Wahlern), and Rüschegg of Canton Bern, Switzerland, the first spelling was recorded as Bieler in the 1550 to 1600s. This is the progression of the name spellings: Bieler > Bÿeler > Beÿeler > Beyeler > (Pioneer Jacob Beyeler/Beiler immigrated to Berk’s County, PA in 1737. He had children with his first wife in Switzerland and his offspring with her used the Beyeler spelling; his second wife also from Switzerland brought their children to PA and soon after arriving his second wife died, and he married the third time. Within these 3 marriages his offspring used the surnames Beyeler in Switzerland and Beiler, Byler, Biler, and Boiler in PA. Other Beyelers were spelled Beieler and Beyler most of whom were not Amish-Mennonite.

        The name Beyeler originates from the French word “abeille” for beekeeper.

        1. John Beiler

          The Origin of the Surnames Beiler and Byler

          Donovan Beyeler,
          I would like to know more about the Beiler history and genealogy.
          Do you have the book on the Beiler family history by Daniel Beiler?

    13. Kate

      I was so surprised to see the name Waneta on your list of girls names! The Amish I stay with has a cousin who got married last Summer & her name was Waneta. I just thought that was such a strange name and almost sounded like the Mexican name Juanita. I was interested to see that it must be a pretty common name in order to make your list! Thanks for sharing once again 🙂

      Some girls name is our church are: Linda, Edna, Regina, Rhoda, Mary Ella, Mary Edna, Marietta, Rosetta, Ida Mae, Josephine, Marilyn, Pricsilla, Rosanna, etc. Just to name a few of them. None are too ‘fancy’ (altho Pricsilla seems it a little to me but shes so cute! Just turned 6) but there are some beautiful names out there!

    14. Pingback: Saturday brain dump: “Rhymie Aaron”, Big Valley Blues, and secrets of Amish heating
    15. iluvhanssolo


      The first website I tried , yours, has answered my Amish name delema. I am 13 and writing a book called Amish Grace. I needed more names then Yoder Zook and Esh. I had truble with fist names too. Thank you sooo much for the information.
      -i luv hans solo

    16. iluvhanssolo


      my book is not going to be Amish Grace as I have just found out that that is a movie.I don’t want to plagerise!!!

      1. Traci Banville


        It was also a book based on a true story.

    17. Bob Farmer

      Nimrod Farmer

      I am looking for a possible connection to amish for
      my Ggrand father Nimrod Farmer. He was born 1811 or 10
      he says in Vir. in 1830 census in Jefferson county TN.
      I can find no record of his birth, siblings, or forebears.
      At the same place in Tn. there was a Mary Farmer. Does this ring
      a bell with anyone.
      Bob Farmer.

    18. JD Edwards

      Hoping to find my Amish family...

      I have been doing some genealogy as of late and found that I have a huge number of Amish ancestors among them Isaac Kauffman and his wife Anna Streit from Switzerland,Also Christain Yoder and his wife Barbara Gerber,Andreas Holly/Hooley and wife Ann Troyer..there were also Fisher’s,Hartzlers,Zug’s,Mast’s, It seems many of them were associated with the “Northkill” settlement early on..
      I’m hoping I’ll be able to find living relatives(other descendants of the above people)…I’d sure like to know my extended family..JD

      1. JD, this may be an obvious question, but have you been working with the Descendants of Jacob Hochstetler genealogy?

        1. JD Edwards

          No I haven’t as yet been in contact with anyone from any of the families…But I am hoping that will all change soon.

      2. Tim Yoder

        Hi JD,
        Well I cousin, I am 12th generation descendent of Christian Yoder, also of Hans Sieber. Christian came over I beleive in 1742 and Hans in 1736 both to the Northkill area. I would recommend contacting Chris Yoder, he runs the Yoder newsletter, he does a great job in finding you Yoder descendents. Cheers for now.

        1. Bill Yoder

          yoder History

          The information Tim Yoder mentioned concerning Chris Yoder is –— Great site for Yoder research. My roots also go back to Christian Yoder who’s family settled in Shanksville PA where I was born. After my father’s coal mining accident we moved to central PA. My G-Grandfather Jonas joined the army during the civil war which moved our branch of the Yoder away from it’s amish roots.

    19. Lindsay

      Is it just me or does King and Fisher sound like non-Germanic names to me? Unless they are English corruptions of German names?

      Erik, in the history of the Amish church (post New World settlement), was there a time when there was more conversion to the church that could possibly explain some of the English sounding last names? I got to thinking that perhaps 100 years ago converting to the Amish church may not have required such a massive lifestyle change as it would presently, and that conversions may have been more common?

      1. Katie King

        King Name

        @Lindsay, The King name was Koenig in Switzerland and Germany. My ancestors kept it only for about one generation here when they settled in PA.
        It was fun to read this article and see names from my family history. My family started in PA and then moved to Ohio, then to northern Indiana so we have kind of a mix of the more ‘area specific’ names. I was also pleased to see that my first and last names were listed as still being so common 🙂

        1. Dan'l

          King Name

          I believe one finds the Amish Kings were Koenigs from the Zweibrucken in the Palitinate and were converted from the Lutheran faith. They were not of Swiss extraction as some Amish surnames are.

        2. Rob T

          Germanic surnames

          You must remember that there was no standard German language at the time most of the Amish and Mennonite immigrants came to the new world. Just a continuum of dialects with no standard spelling. Most Amish and related faiths came from the Rhineland or Switzerland and what today is Alsace part of France. They spoke Alemannic dialects, the actual Dutch speak primarily saxon dialects and there is also Franconia and Frisian. Even today Swiss, Austrian and German standard language differ and Platt deutsch even more so. They are all ralated to English and the North Germanic languages of Scandinavia and Iceland but have evolved to the point where they are not intelligible to one another, but the relationship is easy to see in the everyday words and written language.

    20. Chelsea

      Ada and Alda are two common first names for women in my area. So are Kathy, Esther, Naomi, and Lori.

      For men: Eli and Levi are rather common!

      Keim and Schlabach are becoming more of a common last name around here for the Amish.

      In the Mennonite churches, Geiser is becoming a common last name.

      Kind of interesting to see how common names change depending on the area!

    21. Serena Miller

      Amish Family Historical Research

      I write Amish novels–with one book presently published and three more contracted with Simon and Schuster. Research is my life these days and I wanted those hoping to trace Amish family roots to know about a two-volume set that just came out in April, 2011. “Unser Leit” by Leroy Beachy (Amazon) is an amazing 1,000 pp. 40 year labor of love by a (now) 82 year old former Amish man who lives in Holmes County. Well-written and well-researched. Page after page of fascinating detail about various Amish families going back, in some cases, hundreds of years. Pricey, but worth every penny for serious students of Amish history. A bookstore owner in the Holmes county area told me that it is the most significant work, with the exception of the Bible, that his store has ever carried. I have NO vested interest in this two-volume set–just found out about it myself and thought others would like to know.

      1. Frieda Lewis

        Amish book author

        I was glad to see your information on the Amish research two volume set.
        I am also fascinated that you write Amish novels. I am writing my second book, an Amish novel. The first book was a memoir of my life.
        I live in the Appalachian Amish area of Ohio in Adams County. The Amish are our neighbors and we highly value and respect them as members of our community.
        My question to you, if you would be so kind to answer, is how did you get your first novel published?
        Did you have to pay up front? I know if a book is self published, you are pretty much on your own. I would like advice on getting started in the publishing world. Anything you can tell me would be most appreciated. God Bless and have a great day.

        Frieda Lewis
        Adams County, Ohio

    22. Marcus Yoder

      Hi Tim Yoder I am also related to Christian Yoder who came over in 1742. I am related throuh his first wife who is unknown. I am 8th generation. There is a website called saga for Amish and Mennonite genealogy.
      Marcus Yoder London Ohio

      1. Katie King

        I’d like to find that website you mentioned, ‘saga’. I googled it and only came up with the Spanish American Genealogical Association. I know of for Amish and Mennonite research but have never heard of saga. Can you provide the URL? Thanks

        1. Marcus Yoder

          OMII is now SAGA, which is Swiss Antibaptist geaneolgy association. I have had trouble finding it with google. Keep trying, it’s well worth the money, for Amish and Mennonite. Marcus Yoder

    23. Darline

      Is Shook Amish?

      For some reason I was thinking I had heard the name Shook in the Amish community but I do not see it on any list. Am I just remembering something wrong?

    24. Hannah Yoder

      Common names

      Mein name is Hannah. I was Amish. My schwisterns names are-Rachel,Naomi,Lizzie,Beckie,Mary Ruth,Anna,Clara und Miriam.Mein bruders names are-Ephraim, Moses,Isaac,Elam und Aaron.These names are common in mein old district. I also have a daughter named Anna Mae and mein husband is named Jonas. These names were common in his old district.

      1. Dody Bush

        Have you heard of the Sagars. (SAY gers) They were my great-great grandparents.

      2. Suzanne Walker


        For Hannah Yoder: It’s a curiosity to me how you are able to use e-mail technology, while most Old Order here in Northeast Ohio still won’t allow the use of ‘modern devices’. I’ve been reading Beverly Lewis’s various books with stories of Amish families and their lives (the Abram’s Daughters series, etc.). They are centered in Lancaster County, PA, and I find them delightful and fascinating. My great-great grandmother’s surname–back in Germany in the mid-1800s, before she came to the U.S.– was “Zimmerman”. Maybe I’m of ‘Amish’ heritage(?); could be why I have such an itense interest in your culture. Best regards. Suzanne

        1. Pamela

          Curiousity response

          I believe Hannah Yoder said she was Amish, meaning she no longer is and has left her Amish family behind.

        2. Pamela


          I believe Hannah Yoder commented that sbe used to be Amish. I may have misinterpreted the statement.

    25. Carrie Hanison-Nagel

      Where in Pennsylvania are the Weavers

      I am trying to find any information on my G Grandfather who left the Amish Mennonite Church in the 1880’s. He was born Thomas Weaver October, 30, 1863. His father was Amos. I do not know his mothers name. He was born somewhere in Pennsylvania and emigrated up to British Columbia, Canada. Does anyone know where in Pennsylvania the Weaver’s may be.

    26. Barb

      I shop at a store owned by the Peachy family and I buy my eggs from Katie and Ruth Stolzfus. We have become familar with these names since they have been here for quite a while now.

    27. Lee Ann

      I would like to help my husband locate some of his relatives. He was told he had some Amish family. He’s from the Indiana area.
      Last name is Smock. If anyone can direct me to help find them through geneolgy I would appreciate it.

    28. Barbara

      Amish roots

      I am trying to find out more about my husbands roots, his last name is Kistler and he’s from the Berks county area of Pennsylvania. His parents spoke PA Dutch and his brother who still lives up there also speaks it. My husband knows a few words, but cannot carry on a conversation. He joined the military in the late 50’s and never lived back up there. His mothers maiden name was Miller. I’d like to know if he could have Amish roots. I know there is a Kistler Valley in PA, but don’t know if it’s in the Amish area.

      Thank you for any information.

      1. Marcus Yoder

        Barbara can you give a birthdate and first name for your father and mother-inlaw? I found a Bruce Kistler born 1945 married to a Barbara Miller.
        Marcus Yoder

        1. Barbara

          My father-in-laws name was LeRoy George Kistler, I think he was born in 1919, I’m not sure, my mother-in-laws name was Geraldine Elizabeth Miller and she was born 13 October 1917. Her mother’s name was Lizzie Miller, don’t know when she was born. I know LeRoy’s fathers name was Edgar Kistler. My husband’s name is LeRoy Edgar Kistler and he was born 13 November 1938 in Slatington, Pa.

    29. looking for heritage link to ST. Joseph Michigan

      I have a great Grandfather Named George H. Utterhad a son named Blanchard Miller Utter. Looking to see if i am in fact amish my self.. can any one help with that information…
      Richard Edward Carlock @ Thank you..

    30. caroleena jones

      re: Sri Lanka

      I found all of these posts very interesting. I have a pen pal in Sri Lanka. She was asking me for more information on the Amish people, so I found myself here. Thanks for the interesting reads.

    31. carson


      This is an interesting series of postings.

      I enjoy my new order Amish friends near where I live. they are good, honest and loving people. When i am around them, I am a better person. They have a peacefulness about them that is infectious.

    32. Lillie

      Book Idea

      I am writing this book about the Ohio Amish country and I had went onto Google to find some names for my characters and this website was the first one on the list. It was very helpful for my book. My novel is titled A White Christmas, Finally! because I read on a website that in February 2010, the Ohio Amish country had a snowfall after not having one in a long time.

      -Only 11-year-old Lillie

    33. Renee

      men's Amish first names

      This probably will sound frivolous to most of you. I just purchased an antique whirligig. It’s from Pennsylvania and from probably a farm. It’s a man sawing wood and you can see he has a beard. It’s old, so it’s a little faded.

      I wanted to name him and why I wanted a man’s first Amish name. I’m probably going to choose Samuel, Isaac of Abram.

      Thanks for understanding me.

    34. The Tampico, Illinois Amish Mennonite group of churches (17) have taken an opposite approach. No two people with the same name. They do use middle names. Here are some recent ones from the Quiver Filler section of their magazine “The Lighthouse” : Clay Christian, Brooklyn Joy, Karson Drew, Lexon Cody, Leneisha Kaye, Jace Canyon, Macy Autumn, Kailyn Levi, Autumn Makensi, Freeman Daniel, Lorinda Joelle, Jolynn Nicole, Parker Reed, Rianna Cheyenne, Brandi Summeraye, Kayla Jewel, Dakota Eric, Lexi Renae, Riley Austin, Kyle David, Dustin Devon, Dawnia Lanae. But they’re stuck with their last names: Hostetler, Shrock, Kropf, Kempf, Miller etc. Oh, there was on Robert John. Poor guy.

    35. Erik

      Other surnames to add to the list

      Aren’t Beachy, Raber, Gingerich, and Peachey fairly common? I did not notice them in the list, though I saw some in this page’s photos.

    36. My great grandma was from Acadia,PA

      My great grandma was from either Acadia,PA or Arcadia, PA (sp?)Her mom was a Burns before she married my GG grandpa. She then married a man named Bathurst.Is that an Amish last name? I was told that’s smack dab in the middle of Amish Country. The closest town is Butler, PA in Butler County. My great grandma was born in 1922.When my GG grandma died she was a Wesleyan Methodist. Is it possible that she went away from the Amish faith? They are very strict about cutting your hair concerning the women, no television, no make-up etc. My great grandpa(unfortunately in the late stages of Alzheimer’s Disease in his 90th year, please pray for him)always said that he met my great grandma in Akron, OH at Firestone when she was a riveter during WW 2.Any hints about possible links to Amish roots would be greatly appreciated for me! Also my great grandma was named Margaret Geneva Hoffman Snawder, could they have been Amish, too?

    37. Barbara

      Amish names

      My daughter has traced her Great-Greats back to Switzerland, came to America in the 1700’s by way of Amsterdam. The family name is Kistler, although in Switzerland, it may have been Kustler He is buried in Jerusalem cemetery near Neffs, Pa. My daughters grandparents spoke PA Dutch and we are wondering if somewhere in the line they were Amish… Kistler or Kustler an Amish name. We are aware also that there is a Kistler Valley in PA, but no one can tell us how it came to be named that. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

    38. Moyer or Spangler

      My grandparents were born and raised in Pennsylvania and were farmers all of their lives. My grandpa was Roy Moyer and my Grandma’s maiden name was Doris Spangler. I would like to know if we have some Amish roots in us. Anything you can do would be of great assistance.

      1. I don’t know of any Moyers of Spanglers among Amish today, and don’t recall having seen the name in historical context about Amish. Moyer has been seen among Mennonites though, more on that here:

    39. Bill Biel

      Amish Biel's

      I’ve been studying my family for years and have just recently notince the Biel surname coming up more and more in the central Pa. area, including Lancaster. I’ve traced my “Biel” family back to 1686 in a small town named Thalwenden,Germany.

      I’m wondering if anyone there is familiar with the Biel surname connected to the Amish community?

    40. wendell troyer


      just curious if anyone know how many troyers of amish by state or settlement in the usa or other countries.

    41. Brian Mast

      A very common Amish last name that was missed

      Hello Eric,
      A very common Amish last name in northern Indiana (and I presume in PA and OH) was not mentioned here. That name is Mast. I was never Amish, but both of my parents were as children, and yes; I have a great many Amish relatives.
      I remember as a child reading a Mast ancestry book my dad had, and I learned that my family came from Switzerland to PA in 1737 to escape religious persecution. The forefather was named Jacob Maust. I have no idea about why the name was changed to Mast, and sadly I will not be able to find that book again until my mother (a Miller) passes away because she is an extreme hoarder who has packed the house with boxes of junk she has saved for decades. I had asked my father for more information about my family history many years ago, but he didn’t know very much about that and now he is deceased.
      There is also a great mystery on my moms Amish side that surfaced only a few years ago. One of my uncles was going through an old chest after his father died, and he found an old picture. He asked his mom about it and she reluctantly informed him that his grandfather was a Cherokee who taken in during a snow storm by his great grandparents. The supposed Cherokee fell in love with one of the daughters, married her and joined the Amish. I said supposed because I did some research and I found out that there were no Cherokee tribes in the northern region of the states of IN or OH. I also found out that peaceful Indians claimed to be Cherokees because white people weren’t scared of that tribe. Anyway, my grandfather was ashamed about having an Indian grandparent, and he made his wife promise to keep that fact a secret. Since then, my grandmother died and nobody can find that picture again. My uncle tried to get a researcher to find out more details about the Indian forefather, but nothing has been found.
      I also have some Amish relatives with the last name of Stutzman that wasn’t mentioned.

      1. Mast Amish Surname

        The Mast name is pretty common in some Amish settlements. We could have added a number of names to this list in fact.

        In Amish Society, the last edition of which came out 20+ years ago, John Hostetler counts 126 Amish surnames. I’d guess there are more than that now with a handful of converts adding more than might have been lost in the ensuing period.

        You see Mast more often in Midwestern settlements in states like Indiana and Ohio. It’s not a common Lancaster County name, I’m not sure how many Amish Masts might even be in that settlement or Lancaster sister settlements.

        You might also enjoy this piece, which expands on 10 common Amish last names:

    42. Brian Mast

      More on Amish history

      I am new to this group, so it is entirely possible that I have missed something here: but I have read somewhere in this site that the Amish arrived to the U.S. in the 1800’s. In my previous post, I mentioned that my paternal Amish/Mennonite ancestors came here in the 1700’s according to a book that I had read as a child nearly 40 years ago.
      I cannot access that book in order to verify _everything_ that I remembered reading as a child, so it is entirely possible that I got some facts screwed up. I _know_ that I read in the book that my paternal family got here in the 1700’s, but my father was born in 1737; so my earlier statement that my family got here in 1737 might be off by a few years or decades. I do not know. I remember reading that Jacob Maust came from Switzerland back then, yet most names in that book were about the Mast linage. That book was probably written in the 1940’s to the 1970’s, and it could possibly have errors. As I have said earlier: I’m not going to be able to find that book until the time comes when we 2 surviving children sort through the massive hoard of stuff that my mother has accumulated. That having been said: Here is strong evidence IMO that the Amish arrived in this country in the 1700’s:

      1. Amish first arrival in America

        Brian, welcome and glad you commented. The Amish did in fact arrive in America in the first half of the 1700s. The first known settlement was in Berks County, PA and is referred to as the Northkill settlement.

        Today there are just 3 existing settlements founded in the 1700s, all in Pennsylvania.

        Amish arrived in North America in 2 large waves, one in the mid-1700s, (most of those Amish settled in Pennsylvania) and a later, larger wave in the early-mid 1800s (many of whom ended up in the Midwest).

        If you’d like to read a history of the Amish, Steven Nolt’s A History of the Amish is a good choice.

      2. Donovan (Mast) Beyeler

        Mast Surname

        Hi Brian, my mother was a Mast from Holmes County, Ohio. I have studied the history of the Bishop Jacob Mast, his uncle Jacob Mast, and many other Masts rather extensively over the years. Bishop Jacob Mast had a brother Johannes (John) who went to North Carolina about 1757 to 1761. There are even Mast African-Americans now in Texas. There is a recent book written about this.

        The Amish-Mennonite Masts came from Rüschegg, Guggisberg, and Wahlern, Switzerland and became fugitives to Alsace, France/Germany in 1700’s. Go to “John Mast of North Carolina” at Facebook and you can view the church and the home dwelling of uncle Jacob Mast (emigrant of 1737)located near Rüschegg, Switzerland. I have many photos/video of this area from being there in 2013.


        1. Brian Mast

          Thanks very much Don! I found the page and I saved it as a link because I did not see a way of adding your site as a friend or something.
          Since you seem to have so much information, please allow me to potentially fill in a slot that you may or may not have. My long deceased paternal grandfather was named Jacob, and I remember that he was born in the late 1800’s, but I do not recall where.
          Jacob became an ordained minister in Northern Indiana, and he had 8 children named Amos, Anna, Melvin,Henry, Ester, Ori, Ervin, Ella. The birth order may be incorrect. My late father was Ervin J Mast, and he was born in northern Indiana in 1937.
          I was born in 1963 in northern Indiana, and I have a long deceased younger brother named Scott, and a younger sister named Debbie or Debra.

          1. Marcus Yoder

            I looked up your ancestry on the swiss Anabaptist genealogy association site and your grandfather was born march 5 1896 in Arthur Illinois. We share many ancestors from around the late 1700 and early 1800. My father was born in Arthur Illinois.
            Marcus Yoder

            1. Brian Mast

              Thanks for finding out that information Marcus. Did you find it at the SAGA website, or have I found the wrong one? Was this information on-line, or do I need to purchase a book?

              1. Marcus Yoder

                I got it off of the SAGA website.

                1. Brian Mast

                  Good. Thanks. I’ll probably join the site in a few weeks. Yes, I know that the membership is low priced, but I am between jobs right now. I’m almost certain to get hired with-in a week or 4.
                  I also am related to a family of Masts from my mothers side. I asked my dad about why that was the case as a child, and he told me that he thinks my maternal uncle and himself are 3rd cousins or something. Both my mom and one of her sisters (maiden name Miller) married a Mast. That uncles name was and is Felty, and he lives in Shipshewana, Indiana. If my dad and Felty were right, then my cousins Glenn, Richard and late twin sister Sharon, Lyle, Earl, and Mark are slightly more than just 1st cousins.
                  Thanks again for that information.

        2. Eli Lloyd Mast

          Mast ancestry pictures

          I read your post that yiu have information of 1737 Immigratn Jacob Mast in Switzerland and also some photos. I am a seventh generation descendant. I have also done quiet a bit of research but have not been able to find much before Phieadelphia.
          It is very likely that he was a decendant of Bededict Mast from 1570 but the link has not been proven. I would be very interested in more information. I could be contacted at or you may call at 731-609-2912. Thanks Lloyd


          1. Donovan (Mast) Beyeler

            Response to Eli Lloyd Mast - author

            Hello Eli Lloyd Mast – Greetings to you. I have been wanting to contact you since I have two of your interesting and well done 92 page books, “1737 Immigrant Jacob Mast”” and grew up near Stuarts Draft, two miles NW of Waynesboro. So I grew up near you. My parents were Noah A. Beyeler and Viola (Mast) Beyeler. Mother was from Holmes County and dad from Wayne Co. My parents moved to Virginia in 1949 from Ohio when I was 6 yrs old. I learned to know your brother-in-law, David Hershberger a bit. Mother would speak of David Hershberger as related somehow (probably through your sister) and it appears that she knew him while living in Ohio.

            If you would find the site, John Mast of North Carolina on Facebook, you would be able to see those photos that I wrote of from Switzerland. I have photographed the buildings that have been identified as a part of the property of Jacob Mast, immigrant of 1737, identified by J. Lemar and Lois Ann Mast of Morgantown, PA.

            I am delighted that you have contacted me. I will continue our conversation through use of our email addresses. Don (Donovan) J. Beyeler

            1. E, Lloyd Mast

              I would love to correspond with you but I do not have your email address. Mine is esmast@emypeo[ Yes, Dave Hershberger’swife was my oldest sister. Lloyd

    43. jami

      Erik question for you please and thankyou

      To everyone searching I grew up in Indiana around Amish and families who left the names most you have typed suppose they could be long lost someone’s to you they stretch from nappanee to Denver Indiana and every little town in between. Erik…. I have question on names I didn’t see mentioned was Sarver is that Amish or Peppers

    44. Deb Yowler

      My brother is a doctor in Cleveland, Ohio and has many Amish patients who say that our last name is Swiss German Amish. Our family is from the Springfield, Ohio area. Could Yowler be from Yoder? Have you any Yowlers in the Amish community.

      1. Yoder Amish/Mennonite name

        Hi Deb, Yowler is not an Amish name. I don’t think it’s from Yoder either. Here’s the history of that name, along with alternate spellings:,_Joder,_Jodter,_Jotter,_Yoeder,_Yother,_Yothers,_Yotter)

    45. Summit, Keck

      Did my family leave the Amish community my grand farther said yes .

      My great grandfarther came to Oklahoma during the land rush my farther was told this by his grand farther. Because of the restriction by the church and he never went back my grand mother went back and died was buried in Ohio. But I would know if this is true and I belive as farther did is why they can’t find the link where we came to the US in 1706 by the church in Germany . Where are the records from that time can find those ?

    46. kathy

      my maiden name is Kauffman these are my grandparents would like info on grandmothers side

      Descendants of:
      Daniel J. Kauffman -b. Feb. 27, 1891 and Lovina Miller b-nov. 28 ,1907
      William Jonathan- b. Nov. 28, 1926
      Wallace Wayne -b. Feb. 6, 1928
      Walter Dallas- b. Feb. 7, 1929
      Roman Abner- b. Apr. 2, 1930
      Bernetha-died young
      Charles Eugene- b. Feb. 20, 1932
      Raymond Lee- b. Mar. 2, 1934
      Paul Leroy-b. June 8, 1938 d. Dec. 27, 2012 anyone with info on lovina miller please reply

    47. Kay Stahl

      Our South White Deer District in North Central PA must be closely tied to Lancaster communities because the surnames are very similar. The whole district directory only at ten different surnames. Fisher is the most common name, with Beiler, Lapp, Esh and Stoltzfus next. The other surnames were: Zook, Kauffman, King, Yoder and Glick. The Glicks are our close neighbors and the only one listed with that last name, They told me that they had come up from Lebanon County, PA. We both moved to this area about the same time and we had planned to view their home with our realtor but they put an offer on it before we could check it out! I think the Glick family had also considered looking at our house but we didn’t have enough land for them. They are nice neighbors and friendly. Their children seem to enjoy observing our children and likewise we like to observe them. I love it when they have church at their house because I get to see all the buggies and other Amish in the neighborhood go by.

    48. What are common Amish names?

      Jusst wan too say yyour article is as amazing.
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    49. Robert Sieber

      Sieber amish

      I traced my ancestry back to Hans Sieber, he would be my 9th great grandfather. I’m not sure when my family left the Amish but I have traced them to Juniata county PA where Christian Sieber the second is buried near Mifflintown PA. Some of his sons are buried in the Lost Creek Mennonite cemetery so I’m thinking between Christian 2 and Abraham Sieber is where the break is. I currently live in Huntingdon County, not far from the Big Valley Amish settlement.

    50. Richard

      Dream research

      Looking for the meaning of a name given in a dream. Sounds like Hirmish Hoehoffer?
      Thanks, Richard